Carroll County storefronts are looking pretty in pink this month.
The Center for Breast Health at Carroll Hospital, along with presenting sponsor Advanced Radiology, are holding the 20th annual Paint Carroll Pink initiative throughout October in a multi-faceted celebration of breast cancer survivors, screenings, and early detection. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The coronavirus pandemic eliminated the chance for Carroll Hospital to hold its annual Pink Fling afternoon luncheon this year, so the event instead became 31 days of community involvement to spread hope, encouragement, and awareness.
Carroll Hospital Foundation Events Manager Heather Akers said this initiative was set up as a way for breast cancer survivors to come together, support and celebrate each other. It later became a fundraiser to benefit the hospital’s Embrace program and Center for Breast Health.
“What we know is that if survivors can be as healthy as possible and take advantage of this program, there’s a good likelihood that the cancer won’t come back,” Akers said. "It’s also about the spirit of keeping survivors from getting depressed, it’s a great program. That’s part of what we fund through Pink Fling, and we’re getting the whole community involved.
“It’s starting to blow my mind.”
Many local businesses across the county are participating in Paint Carroll Pink by embellishing their storefronts with pink decorations and offering promotions to customers. Akers said the Downtown Sykesville Connection is hosting a Pup Walk on Oct. 25 and a portion of the proceeds will go to a local store owner currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The Pup Walk will start at Sykesville Middle School and proceed to Main Street with waves of good boys and girls — and their owners — proceeding every 30 minutes.
Amy’s Laundry, located at 271 E. Main Street in downtown Westminster, is also participating in Paint Carroll Pink. This is laundromat owner Amy Doody’s second year contributing to the cause and said the community is what brought her back to take part for another year.
“There are a lot of places that we can give our money to, it’s endless,” Doody said. “A lot of the places where you give, you never see the effect of it, but because this is centered on Carroll County and the people who live here, it’s helping the people you see and interact with every day.”
Some storefronts are being designed by artist and blogger Lisa Walters of CreativLEI, and Akers said she has been a crucial asset in implementing a vision for what Paint Carroll Pink should look like. Walters painted the front window of Unwined on Main Street in Sykesville to read 'Stronger Together" in bold pink and white letters with a breast cancer awareness ribbon.
Walters also designed the windows at Amy’s Laundry with messages that read “You are not alone,” “Faith over fear,” and “Honoring survivors all around us”.
“Breast cancer in particular has affected an enormous amount of people right here in Westminster,” Doody said. “It’s amazing to me to see how many people have a story of an aunt, mother, or grandmother who had gone through the Carroll Hospital Center and how many of them knew what the Embrace Program was and had been affected by it.”
An active committee of volunteers, chaired by Liz Andes-Brown of sponsor Orrstown Bank introduced a handful of other initiatives in place of the Pink Fling luncheon such as pink “fairy dusting” care packages for breast cancer survivors, a mobile silent auction, and special promotions throughout the month from participating merchants and more.
Akers said the hospital is still operating with “boots on the ground” to provide support for breast cancer survivors with peer-to-peer fundraising as well.
“It never surprises me,” Akers said. "This community is so generous, so it never surprises me when people step forward. The magnitude of the support we’re getting is just inspiring. We’re really proud of the fact that we’ve created this initiative.
Latest Carroll County News
“The committee has done an amazing job of getting everyone involved.”